Fifty years ago, historians advised politicians and policy-makers. They helped chart the future of nations, by helping leaders learn from past mistakes in history. But then something changed, and we began making decisions based on economic principles rather than historical ones. The results were catastrophic.
Photograph of dust bowl survivors, by Dorothea Lange
According to historians David Armitage and Jo Guldi, authors of a new book called The History Manifesto, historians ceded authority to economists by losing their long view. They stopped studying broad stretches of time, refused to analyze long-term trends over centuries or even millennia. Instead, according to Armitage and Guldi, they gave in to “short-termism,” focusing on obscure moments in history that weren’t relevant to the public sphere.
Perhaps most significant, the influenza outbreak coincided with the final year of what was then called “The Great War” WWI. The war had already exacted a massive psychological toll on the globe, but frequent international combat probably also had a hand in spreading the virus. In fact, the virus killed more people than World War I. But to a world already weary of death and governed by seemingly endless tragedy, the obituaries of the 1918 influenza pandemic were the latest in a list it had been reading for four years.
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Originally posted on TechCrunch:
Designing a good-looking website has never been easy and while many services promise to let you build a site without ever having to touch any code, you quickly reach their limits if you want to have a more advanced site. The Grid, which is launching its crowdfunding campaign today, promises to…
Twitter engineer Mazdak Hashemi says the Japanese tweet like no one else on earth.
When the New Year arrives or even as they watch certain moments in shows and movies broadcast on national television, tens of thousands of Japanese will tweet at practically the same instant. “Everyone tweets at the New Year, but the Japanese are more in-sync,” says Hashemi, who, as Twitter’s director of site reliability engineering, works to make sure its mini-messaging service stays in good working order. “They do it at exactly midnight.”
Originally posted on neuroecology:
I was joking last night that when they announced the Nobel Prize, I wouldn’t have any clue who the winner was because I basically don’t know biology from before 10 years ago. Then I wake up and the winners are systems neuroscientists. That’ll teach me to joke! Obviously, I am ecstatic.
John O’Keefe, who discovered place cells, and May-Britt and Edvard Moser, who discovered grid cells, shared the prize.
Here is the announcement. Here is a fortuitously-timed profile on the Mosers (great, must read). Here is the New York Times (currently pretty sparse, but better than The Economist). Here is an adorable piglet running through the grass.
The two O’Keefe papers that you should know are: “The hippocampus as a spatial map. Preliminary evidence from unit activity in the freely-moving rat” and “Place units in the hippocampus of the freely moving rat.” Sadly, neither…
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Originally posted on TechCrunch:
Editor’s note: Michael John (“MJ”) is responsible for all creative product development at GlassLab. An industry veteran who has designed commercial video games for close to twenty years, his design credits include the original Spyro the Dragon games on PlayStation and the PSP classic Daxter, along with six years as a senior creative director at Electronic Arts.
When I entered the games for learning business a little over two years ago, there was one word everyone wanted to talk about: “Gamification.” I was asked about gamification by top philanthropists, accosted at the Game Developers Conference about the subject, and even had to drive by a gamification billboard every evening on my Silicon Valley commute.
The “gamification” concept goes something like this: Take an existing set of activities – say banking, or exercise, or rote schoolwork (the more mundane the better, apparently) – apply a set of “game rewards” in the…
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